Saturday, January 24, 2015

Oh FFS, not another apologetic "I haven't posted here for a while" post....


Yep. It is.

Still. At least it's something.

In all truth, I had big plans to roar like a lion into 2015, new year, new regime etc etc. But resolutions are made to be broken eh? As it is, all I can promise is a determination to put something on here every so often. Where every so often is a time period somewhat less than annually and somewhat more than daily. In between those two goalposts I reckon we'll hit a mark.

The big problem with any return to blogging here is that it's been so bloody long that I had a sense that the return post should be SOMETHING, have a sense of importance, gravitas, not just waffling about shite.

Then I realised that this is nothing more than me talking to me on a public forum, so fuck the idea of gravitas and I'll treat it like a monologue between me and me and see how that goes.

So. How has life been recently Richard?

Well, thanks for asking Richard. It's been shit and great and all points in between, just as I imagine everyone's life has been. (Find me someone permanently happy and I'll show you a moron or a madman).

ME: Well. I'm still working in the same primary school I wrote about a long time back. It's still fun. I'm still doing the computers there. I'm still wracked with self-doubt about my capabilities in this role. I still know being wracked with self-doubt is silly, as the head knows just what I'm doing and knows my teaching kids about Computing is far more important than sorting everything out about the server and getting to the bottom of Active Directory et al.

I'm way more involved in the whole comics thing as well now. Really, really involved. Looking bac over the Fictions archives I see many references to the idea of getting the review queue down to zero. It still hasn't happened. I doubt it ever will. But the sensible bit of me realises that it's not such a big deal to do that anymore. It's fine to have more people wanting you to look at their cherished work than you have time to. It's a compliment dammit. So yes, I keep writing about comics, keep reviewing comics, day after day after day.

Family.... well, that's a bit more complicated. Not because much has changed, not at all, it's still me, Louise and Molly here at Bruton mansions, but you may be aware of the rules regarding me writing.... I can talk about me till the cows come home but I'm not really allowed to talk about Mrs B all that much. And now that Molly is (amazingly) 15 and heading towards GCSEs and adulthood in a few months, I'm not really allowed to talk about all the endearingly embarrassing things my lovely daughter does anymore.  Suffice it to say this year she was a nightmare, a wonder, a marvel, a terror, a delight, source of many worries, source of so much pride.... and frankly any parent who tells you it's all fantastic is a downright bloody liar. Would we have it any other way? Are we incredibly proud of the sterling young lady we've somehow managed to bring up? Will we support her in any and all forms her life takes? Bloody hell, yes. Are we telling you it's all been fab these past couple of years? Hell No.

Mom: Well, she's not exactly getting better. Seriously, what did you expect, the poor woman's got Alzheimers, has probably had it for decades before it was properly diagnosed, it would certainly account for all manner of weird behaviours during my teen years if she did actually have the dread disease. It's merely a matter of time right now before we get the call from the care home to tell us she's gone, and frankly all of us are wishing it to be sooner than later. That includes the pre-Alzheimers mom as well. All those people who talk to you about the amount of care and solace and comfort we can give to Alzheimer's patients, feel free to treat it with a grain of salt. Mom's been lost to us all, to the world, for a good year plus now. There's no comfort we can give here, no communication she recognises, no touch see finds relaxing. Nothing. A blank. Nothing at all. She's simply gone. The saddest thing is we can't simply let her go, can't acknowledge legally that the best thing for all concerned, most importantly her, the woman who always said, quite genuinely, that we should shoot her before she became like this, would be to end her life. A mercy killing.

You want to argue with me about euthanasia? Come see my mother. That should cure you of all your keep 'em all alive as long as possible.

It's certainly made me contemplate my own end. If it happens to me I plan to have so many checks in place that me and mine will be able to recognise the signs. Once we do I'm planning on taking up smoking once more for a few months whilst I still can, sorting out all my effects, travelling a bit if I'm physically able, doing a few things I always fancied, and then finding some way of checking out early. My own terms, my own time, still in relative control.

Okay. Seeing as it's late. Real late. I should really shut this damn thing down and go bed. Go sleep. Forgive the spelling mistakes. Frankly I don't care. Oscar Wilde said it best; you don;'t pay me enough to spellcheck my words. Actually, Wilde said nothing of the sort. But he would have. He really would. And if he didn't I'd still quote him as such.

One eye has just closed. I imagine that's some sort of strange biological subtext for "get the fuck to bed moron". My body commands. I merely do it's bidding.

Next time I tell you all about the secrets to life.

Nah, probably in six months I'll be back talking of how it's been another six months where I haven't done much here. Hey, fingers crossed it's not, eh?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lauren Bacall RIP

Well, yesterday we lost Robin Williams at the age of 63 and through suicide. (See here)

Today we lose Lauren Bacall. First laughter now beauty. Cruel couple of days.

The only consolation is that Bacall's life was longer and I hope happier. Bacall was the epitome of beauty to me, has been since I was in my teens. It wasn't all about the looks, although she was incredibly attractive, but the attitude, the personality, the strength of character, the intelligence. All of it, young or old. You can keep all of your models, your modern day stars, she was one of a kind.


Saturday, March 08, 2014

More music... the new Elbow single / album....

The new Elbow album is magnificent. Beautiful. Melancholy. Uplifting, Emotional. Wonderful. Downloaded it tonight, been on continual rotation all night. The single New York Morning has all the anthemic, festival pleasing stuff going on, but I think by year's end it will be some other fabulously mellow track gracing the end of year list....

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dementia and me....

My mother.... Christmas 2005... at our house, Christmas, well groomed, loving being with her family....

My mother... Christmas 2013... a shell of her former self. If she had any idea I'd be showing this photo she'd be mortified....

Is it wrong that I wish my mother dead?

Is it wrong that I see her, at best, every six months?

Is it wrong that she's effectively dead to me already?

My mother has been suffering with Alzheimers for many years now. She's two and a half years in a home, my dad (almost) finally free of the guilt putting her there caused, finally getting some distance from her.

It's the long goodbye.

My mom and I were never that close, the relationship fracturing in my teens, never really to recover. Looking back I start to question how much of the intractability, the fury, the obsessive nature that I remember so well when I remember who she was, was actually merely early signs of the dementia to come. In some ways I'm grateful that our relationship became toxic, as it saves me from the pain and guilt of seeing her this way. In other ways, it makes me sad and guilty that I'm not deeply affected by seeing my mom laid low by this horrible disease.

She'd seen her own mother go through it. I remember Grandma Hancox suffering from dementia, seeing mom go to her house, get upset, chastise grandma for doing all the stupid, illogical things dementia sufferers do, all the lost clothes, al the boiling kettles dry stuff. And I remember how upset she was by experiencing it.

She always said, only half joking, that if ever she started showing those same signs, we should put a pillow over her face and end it all then. Thing is, I knew she meant it.

God knows, when I say the same to Louise and Molly, I know I bloody well mean it.

Suffice it to say, Louise and Molly already know my wishes.

I do hope by that time wiser heads have prevailed and we have a reasonable assisted suicide route in this country. My wishes are simple, as soon as I start showing signs, Louise is instructed to thrust fags, cigars and G&T into my hand (fuck it, I'll hopefully have been quit 30/40 years by that stage, but lets make those final years pleasurable eh?) and let me get on with it.

The key moment is when I don't function properly, stop enjoying reading, find my cognitive abilities restricted. Louise will be the best judge of that. And then it's simply a case of booking me in to the clinic, feeding me gin, and fags, and cigars until the end, one last night to see the stars and then goodnight. Terry Pratchett may want to see a final sunrise, I've always been a nightowl, I'll be happy seeing the stars when I go out.

If they can cope with it I'll have Louise and Molly with me at the time, both of them reading from Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingstone Seagull.

If they can't cope with it (and no guilt if they can't) a nurse will do the job instead.

An overdose of whatever is legally (I hope) mandated will see me to sleep. God knows that is so much better than the hell I see my mother go through whenever I see her.

I wish my mother dead. I don't think that makes me a bad person.

What makes me a bad person is that I don't walk into her care home tomorrow and do the bloody deed myself.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Seriously.. you failed to tell me about this why?

Daft Punk with Giorgio Moroder - Giorgio by Moroder. (From Random Access Memories, 2013)

This is beautiful, this is powerful, the sound of the future, the click track, the wonder as the beat kicks in. Nearly 10 minutes of perfection, running a gamut from spoken word to bare electronica, from early synth beauty to full orchestration all the way through to daft Punk and their oh so modern reinterpretation of the sound.

This is beauty and brilliance and has been playing over and over and over and over and over since I discovered it (too damn late) today.

The moment when it all comes together, when you get the name, and it just goes on and on and on. Oh my.

Granted, I reckon Moroder is at fault for going to the comfortable, to the easy far too often, but there's always that sense of being in the presence of a pioneer, even if he did throw it away later on. This captures some of the majesty of Moroder the pioneer. I recommend it to you heartily. (And yes, you can expect it on the end of year list).

"I wanted to do a album with the sound of the '50s, the sound of the '60s, of the '70s and then have a sound of the future. And I said, "Wait a second...I know the synthesizer – why don't I use the synthesizer which is the sound of the future?" And I didn't have any idea what to do, but I knew I needed a click so we put a click on the 24 track which then was synched to the Moog Modular. I knew that it could be a sound of the future but I didn't realise how much the impact would be
My name is Giovanni Giorgio, but everybody calls me Giorgio
Once you free your mind about a concept of harmony and music being correct, you can do whatever you want. So, nobody told me what to do, and there was no preconception of what to do."